01/10/05 — C.B. Aycock grapplers defend title

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C.B. Aycock grapplers defend title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 10, 2005 1:55 PM

PIKEVILLE - Although the Charles B. Aycock wrestling team easily continues to scale a tall mountain with a mix of youth and experience, it has yet to reach the peak according to head coach Kevin Smith.

After Saturday's performance in the day-long Terry Pilkington Memorial Duals, the Golden Falcons are getting closer to that mountaintop.

Smith's team successfully defended its title -- for a fourth straight year -- with a convincing 60-15 victory against a good, but short-handed Cedar Ridge squad. The Class 2-A Mid-State runner-up last season, Cedar Ridge advanced to the eastern semifinals in the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs and fell to eventual state champion McMichael.

"This year's tournament was definitely the most-competitive we've had to date," Smith said.

The nine-team field also included 2004 dual-team participants Rosewood (1-A), Heide Trask (1-A) and Southern Wayne (3-A). Trask emerged the eastern regional runner-up to West Davidson, which claimed the 1-A state championship. Spring Creek, South Central, Raleigh Broughton and J.H. Rose completed the tournament list.

Several matches lasted in excess of 90 minutes and the Golden Falcons battled for nearly two hours in their opening-round, 48-12 conquest of J.H. Rose.

Aycock's wrestlers yielded just five pins in 56 contested matches en route to their 4-0 record. After defeating Rose, Smith's team cruised past Rosewood (63-12) and Broughton (51-21) before meeting Cedar Ridge in the final.

"That is what we have to do to be a good dual team," said Smith, whose team reached the eastern 3-A semifinals a year ago. "I was extremely happy with how we wrestled today. In most cases, all of the kids wrestled very smart matches against very good competition."

Ronald Lynn (140 pounds), Randy Meisenhelder (145), Tim Harrison (152), John Robertson (171) and heavyweight Dustin Gurley each concluded the day 4-0. Gurley recorded a pin and two decisions, including a 5-1 triumph against Rosewood senior Michael Sander.

Lynn pinned two opponents and earned a major decision, while Meisenhelder provided three pins and one decision. Meisenhelder needed just 12 seconds to pin his Cedar Ridge opponent.

Robertson collected three pins and one decision.

"Randy wrestled exceptionally well today," Smith said. "He was in control of all his matches from the opening whistle. His conditioning continues to improve, which is making him a much better wrestler.

"Dustin and John both wrestled smart all day as well. It was good to see both of them use technique we have been practicing during their matches today."

Turner Wood finished 3-1 with a loss against Cedar Ridge's Josh Collins, who is ranked No. 1 among the state's 1-A/2-A wrestlers in ncmat.com's Super 32 Report. Collins received the most outstanding wrestler award.

"Turner can take some confidence from it," Smith said. "He was right with Collins all match. He gave up a quick takedown, and that was the difference in the match. It was a good guage to show Turner where he needs to be in about four weeks."

Rosewood concluded the day 2-2.

The Eagles wrestled without 103-pound starter Jim Bish and 112-pounder Ramsey Brown, who was suffering from the flu. Edmundson's team endured a tough 43-32 defeat against Rose and followed that with a loss against Aycock.

"We had been looking forward to wrestling Aycock, not from a team standpoint as much as from an individual test," Edmundson said. "The team score didn't surprise me considering our personnel issues, but the boys who wrestled got great experiences and a lot of mat time."

Heavyweight Clayton Taylor and Dustin Sittig each pinned their respective Aycock opponents. Taylor later turned in the day's fastest pin, a four-second stick against South Central's Mike Griffen. Taylor established a school record and tied Roanoke Rapids' Brad Fortier for the fifth-fastest pin in North Carolina history.

Taylor helped the Eagles hand South Central a 53-27 defeat. Teammates Antar Shafer, Michael Sander, Gabe Castro, Tyler Daniels, Dustin Sittig, Matt Davis, Jeremiah Goodson and Jeff McCumber each claimed a win.

"As usual, this was a tough tournament and we learned and grew as a team from this experience," Edmundson said. "Aycock continues to show their dominance in the area and how important off-season training is to be successful.

"If we can get everyone healthy, I think we may be a little more competitive than we were today."

Team and invididual scores were not available for Southern Wayne and Spring Creek as of press time.

The tournament is named in honor of former Aycock coach Terry Pilkington, who started the program and turned it into a powerhouse before dying in 1999. The Golden Falcons won the Big Eight 3-A Conference tournament in Pilkington's final season.

"It is such an honor to participate in a tournament dedicated to the memory of such a fine man as Terry," Edmundson said. "We started our programs together and I learned so much from Terry. (He) gave so much to the school system, the county and this sport -- he will never be forgotten."

All four teams continue action this week.

Rosewood (13-6) is the guest of Greene Central on Tuesday and returns to the mats Saturday in a dual-team tournament at South Central. Southern Wayne travels to New Hope for a battle against in-county rival Eastern Wayne and Spring Creek visits Louisburg for a Carolina/Tar-Roanoke 1-A match next Thursday.

Aycock entertains West Craven in an Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference match Tuesday and travels to Eden Morehead next Saturday for the annual Sara Wilkes Invitational.

"We are still climbing a mountain," Smith said. "As well as we wrestled, we still have a lot to do to reach our full potential, and reaching that potential is going to require a major commitment from both the coaching staff and wrestlers.

"Our technique can always improve, and we still have about three weeks to get into our optimum physical shape."